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August 8, 2011Dennis Kelly saw a glimpse Monday during Purdue's practice.
Quarterback Robert Marve, about eight months removed from ACL surgery, was able to escape the pocket and make a play with his feet.
"It's really encouraging to see that he's able to run and just get moving again," said Kelly, a senior tackle.
For Marve, every stride is an important one.
He's not only recovering from his second major knee surgery in as many years, but the most recent one took a tendon out of his right knee to repair the injured left one.
It's the right knee that's causing more issues now of soreness and swelling.
"The most frustrating part about it is most of the time you can see stuff and you're not able to throw it yet. I'm doing what I can right now," Marve said Monday, speaking to reporters for the first time since the injury. "I have my good days and my bad days. So I'm hanging in there."
Marve admits the process has been frustrating.
He was stronger and faster than he'd ever been before, he said, entering last season.
But he got banged up often early in his Purdue career, taking several big hits that forced him to the sidelines in the first three games, including a shoulder injury against Western Illinois and a bone bruise to his left knee on a fourth-down sneak against Ball State.
Then, in the fourth game against Toledo, Marve crumbled to the turf without being touched, tearing the ACL in his left knee, the same injury he suffered during a workout in Florida shortly after committing to transfer from Miami to Purdue.
He didn't take it well, saying he "kind of went down in the tank quick."
"To go down so early in the season, it was very frustrating to me," Marve said. "It's frustrating kind of coming back a little bit. But it's something I know I need to work on and keep going and however I can help the team out and see when my knee starts bouncing back where I can be the old me again."
Now, Marve insists he will take a different approach and be more cautious. Both with the rehab and once he returns to the field.
He's not just working to return for this season; he said he plans to apply for a sixth year of eligibility with the NCAA, following the season, intent to go through the process Boilermakers before him Torri Williams, Jason Werner and Keith Smith have. Williams and Werner were granted sixth seasons of eligibility.
And all the prodding and begging Purdue coaches had to do last year to keep Marve, known for his fearless playing style, from sacrificing his body too much?
"I'm 22. I feel like I'm getting old now after my second surgery," Marve said with a laugh. "The surgeries kind of take that out of you, I guess. I'm definitely going to get down or get the ball out of my hands probably a little bit faster."
After all he's been through the last two years, Marve isn't concerned about battling for the starting QB job.
He just wants to contribute.
"Whatever I can do physically right now, I'm happy with," he said. "However many plays I can get, if I start, if I don't start, any way I can help the team to win is a very positive thing for me this season, I feel like."
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